The storm is likely to become a hurricane in Texas

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Texans braced for the approach of Tropical Storm Beryl, which put almost the entire coast under a hurricane watch Saturday, with its landfall forecast as a potentially damaging hurricane.

The storm, which barreled through Jamaica and the Caribbean earlier this week and was a hurricane when it made landfall on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Friday morning, killed at least 11 people. It weakened to a tropical storm as it moved across the Yucatan, but will strengthen to a hurricane again as it heads toward Texas, the National Hurricane Center said.

“It’s a surefire storm that’s still going strong.” Texas Lt. Governor Don Patrick said At a press conference on Friday.

At 10 a.m. Texas local time, Beryl was 460 miles southeast of Corpus Christi in the Gulf of Mexico and moving west-northwest at 12 mph. I amIt is expected to turn northwestward on Saturday, then north-northwestward Sunday night, and reach the Texas coast late Sunday or early Monday morning.

Its winds were 60 mph Saturday, with high gusts. Saturday is expected to strengthen slightly, but the storm will intensify on Sunday.

A hurricane watch extends from the mouth of the Rio Grande to the San Luis Pass. On Saturday, the National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for the Texas coast south to Baffin Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande.

The northeast coast of mainland Mexico from Barra El Mesquital to the mouth of the Rio Grande was under a tropical storm watch. A storm surge watch was in place from the Rio Grande north to High Island. Additional watches and warnings may be in place, the Hurricane Center said.

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Key developments:

∎ Officials say at least 11 people have been killed by beryl rippling in Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and northern Venezuela. There were no casualties in Mexico.

∎ Beryl, the first hurricane of the 2024 Atlantic season, becomes the first Category 5 hurricane on record. With its rapid intensity, Beryl became a hurricane within 24 hours of forming. Within another 24 hours, its winds had increased to 55 mph, reaching 130 mph, nearly a Category 4 hurricane.

Schools near the Texas coast canceled classes Monday. Including the Corpus Christi and West Oso school districts. Del Mar College will close its campus on Monday while Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi transitions to remote status.

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Buy now, not later. Raul Martinez, who owns a hardware store in Corpus Christi, Texas, reminds his customers as Beryl turns toward the city.

“Charge every battery in your house,” Martinez posted on the No Hassle Tools and More Facebook page early Saturday. “Keep a chainsaw handy to remove any debris. Cut your grass now so it doesn’t grow like crazy. Build children’s playgrounds and animal houses.”

It’s okay, he told USA TODAY, with anxious but calm customers buying necessities. Martinez vowed to stay open through the storm until she reached safety.

“There are people in need, and we never know until it happens,” he said. “I have tools for everything, I want to be at people’s disposal, and that’s fine with me.”

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Martinez reminded people to mow their lawns because the area doesn’t see much rain, and overgrown grass after a storm can cause problems. He encouraged people to buy products from small businesses and shops during such critical times.

“Beat the rush,” Martinez said. “We have a lot of small businesses that take time, and we have small stores that sell water, sandbags, and I’m at least open for people. Don’t just depend on those big box stores.”

Voluntary evacuations took place in some counties along the Texas coast.

Aransas County emphasized Residents had to leave but did so voluntarily. Emergency officials there said anyone living in RVs and those in low-lying areas should evacuate.

Matakorda District warned Residents and coastal areas of the district called for voluntary evacuations as floodwaters from the storm could trap their homes.

“The biggest concern for this situation is the coastal areas of our district. Low-lying areas that normally flood are affected,” the district said in a news release on Friday.

Sandbags were distributed in the town of Kingsville, Kleberg County, as voluntary evacuations were underway in Baffin Bay, Loyola Beach and all low-lying areas of the county.

As Beryl strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said Texans will feel its impact Saturday ahead of its arrival.

“The exact location of Beryl’s landfall is uncertain at this time, but the most important thing is that heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge are expected for much of the state’s coastline and parts of the central Gulf Coast starting tonight and into Sunday,” Weather. Prediction Center said Saturday morning.

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Storm surges and “life-threatening” surf and rip currents are not far away.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to hit the Texas coast Sunday night.

Several large urban areas in Texas, including Houston, Austin and San Antonio, lie in the broad path of the storm, and it is still uncertain where the hurricane will pass. Most states will feel at least some impact from the storm.

The weather service in Corpus Christi also said South Texas should prepare for power outages.

Storm surges of about 3 to 5 feet are likely around coastal areas, and “surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” the hurricane center said. Storm surge will affect areas from Baffin Bay to San Luis Pass, Corpus Christi Bay, Matacorta Bay, Rio Grande to Baffin Bay, San Luis Pass to High Island and Galveston Bay.

Heavy rains and flash floods are some of the biggest threats, forecasters warned. About 5 to 10 inches of rain and up to 15 inches in some areas will drench the Texas Gulf Coast and parts of East Texas beginning late Sunday and into next week. Patrick said flooding is likely wherever Beryl goes.

Contributing: Cybele Mayes-Osterman, Doyle Rice and Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY; Cross Harris and Alexis Zimmerman, Austin American-Statesman; Reuters

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